Part 2: A factual summary of JOHN CURTIS: EXPOSED – Incompetence, Lies & Spin

© By Ed Wallace / October 21, 2017 / UtahStandardNews.com

This article is a summary of the Incompetence, Lies, Misrepresentations and Disinformation that is referenced in the first article posted at UtahStandardNews.com on October 13, 2017:

Report: JOHN CURTIS EXPOSED: A Trail of Sexual Harassment, Incompetence, and Broken Contracts By Ed Wallace and The Utah Yaks.

A second article, A Factual Review of JOHN CURTIS: EXPOSED, Part 1, published 10/16/2017, is a summary of the Sexual Harassment, Gender Discrimination, Broken Contracts and Illegal Behavior cited in the first article.

Preface

Common courtesy, or giving others the benefit of the doubt, are terms that often describe individuals who take what someone else says about themselves at face value.  If Utahns are anything, we are courteous. We really don’t know the other person very well and so we assume that the other person is telling the truth. Therefore, we extend to another person the benefit of the doubt by trusting and believing what they are representing to us. If anything, Utahns are trusting.

In the case of John Curtis, who won the republican primary election for U.S. Congress by circumventing Utah’s traditional caucus process, many have supported and voted for Curtis based upon that thin layer of benefit of the doubt by trusting and believing his campaign slogans and statements because he appears to be a nice guy. Utahns love believing a nice guy.

Curtis sent his primary promotional flyer to most, if not all in the third congressional district, by U.S. Mail, with three carefully selected bullet points. In it, he claims that he:

 “Built a multi-million dollar company that employs hundreds right here in Utah.”

 “Cut spending and shrank government as mayor of Provo, leading to a 94% approval rating.”

 “Years of experience conducting firearms and shooting range training for the U.S. Military, police departments & NRA”

However, as we look into Curtis deeper, with even the most rudimentary research regarding his claims, we find that a different story emerges than the one he puts forward to obtain votes.

“Most courts take the view that when a person runs for public office, he puts his character in issue so far as it relates to his fitness and qualifications for office. Accordingly, the politician’s prior conduct and actions are fair game for comment. Campaign ads are famous for spinning the truth and such ‘spinning’ of the facts typically walks a fine line to being false.” – Saper Law

A special report from FactCheck.org states: “Candidates have a legal right to lie to voters just about as much as they want. There is no federal truth-in-advertising law that applies to political ads, and the very few states that have tried such legislation have had little or no success.”

This report by Utah Standard News puts John Curtis through the fact checker of reality.

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Introduction

As Chief Operating Officer (COO) and VP over Sales and Marketing at Action Target Inc. (ATI), and a stockholder, Curtis was intimately aware of, and involved in every detail and aspect of company operations, including being responsible for the implementation of procedures and policies put forth by the CEO and the Board of Directors. Curtis’ recent video ad shows him standing outside, in front of the ATI building and sign, so even in 2017, he still claims a connection and roots in ATI.

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The following is a compilation of statements and information obtained from

former Action Target executives, employees, and court documents.

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The blue, bold text are links to click on to view the related document or website

A Trail of  Incompetence

What did John Curtis really contribute to Action Target Inc (ATI)?  How many employees have been happy there?  How many women was he involved with in their demise as he and his cousin Kyle Bateman demeaned, harassed, abused or allowed them to be attacked over the years?  How many lawsuits and wage claims have been filed, and won, against them? How many times did Curtis and ATI violate state & federal statutes? We will probably never know, but let’s look at some facts:

Contrary to Curtis’s claim in his Congressional campaign mailer that he “Built a multi-million dollar company that employed hundreds right here in Utah”, he actually did just the opposite… he almost destroyed ATI.

Prior to Curtis coming on board at ATI in 1999, 1998 was the best year ever in company history. Gross sales were around $20 million and net profits were also high.  However, within one year after Curtis purchased and assumed his executive position from Scott Roberts, gross sales had dropped by about 50% and were on track to soon be under under $10 million. Within two years, ATI started to have layoffs and was near ruin and on the verge of bankruptcy. The CFO for ATI at the time, Teague Hansen, stated to Roberts on several occasions between late 2000 to early 2001, that he thought ATI would be closing their doors.

That financial distress was largely due to one important and very large job that Roberts had developed and worked and was handed off to Curtis during his training in 1998. The job was for two large indoor/outdoor type FLETC ranges planned for Quantico FBI that Roberts thought could be worth $4.5 to $5.5 million and produce a great profit if handled correctly. Curtis closed the deal at about $4.1 million and managed the project so poorly that ATI became financially strapped to the point that Hansen and Bateman were planning on selling off the ATI manufacturing equipment and liquidating the business by mid 2001 if things didn’t change.

The design and product installation of the two ranges were such a failure on the part of Curtis and ATI that they became known as the “Thunder Domes.” This term referred to the fact that they were too loud, too cold, and the ATI bullet trap used a new undeveloped projectile recycling system that continued to fail over and over again. The ranges were not used much by the FBI as they were seen as a failed project. This led to the FBI dropping ATI as their key vendor at the firearms training unit. This poor relationship with the FBI continued for many years and was a tremendous blow to the company.

After overseeing the decline and near bankruptcy of ATI, Curtis started looking for another path in life. He tried public service politics where direct results from one’s actions are not always so quickly apparent as they are in the business and corporate world. In 2000, Curtis ran as a Democrat for Utah State Senate, District 16 seat against Curt Bramble and got trounced. According to the Deseret News, it was the most expensive State Senate race that year and Curtis outspent Bramble almost three to one. Curtis also became deeply involved in the Democratic party as the Utah County Democratic Chairperson.

In 2000, Bateman asked Roberts if he would return and help them with sales and marketing. Roberts declined their offer. Around 2001, Curtis began looking for a way out and was offering to sell his ATI stock and physical facility interest (Action Commercial Park) and actually approached Roberts about buying in again. Roberts expressed some interest but declined in a letter to Curtis.

Nevertheless, ATI was revived a bit and slowly got back somewhat on track when two new events took place. First, the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 on the NYC Trade Center created an intense interest for more firing ranges around the country. Second, Curtis finally openly admitted that he was a very poor fit for his position over sales at ATI. Curtis decided to hire a number of outside high power commission sales types to run and handle the increasing interest in ATI and their products. This was seen as a survival move by Curtis because he had already shown that he could not develop and manage sales in this industry by himself. These new sales people could close sales, but their technical sales abilities in the firearms range and training industry were sometimes very lacking and many sales suffered from their inabilities, lack of background and understanding.

Curtis also turned to hiring outside friends and contacts as his sales managers that had no background or understanding in the firing range and training industry. This caused additional financial problems for ATI by having to pay these personal contacts and friends mid-management pay to do what Curtis should have been doing. Sources close to Curtis saw that this management level did come with the one thing that Curtis wanted and required for his needed job security – blind “yes men” loyalty. Curtis could then wash his hands for being directly responsible for what was going on in sales or with a job gone bad, like the FBI fiasco.

Curtis was running ATI in a type of “high roller” liberal mentality that was sucking profits and resources out of ATI and putting the company into financial difficulties. Curtis became known as a big spender who seemed mostly interested in flash, throwing parties and receiving accolades. When he became a managing executive at ATI, he found new ways to spend company resources as he developed various expensive frills for the company and for those in his management circle. Those included the practice of expensive vacations, cruises and exotic company trips, and he purchased an expensive ATI Porsche sports car to share with other managers.

Curtis’ approach led to more expenditures and costs and ATI was now floundering under his leadership.  Even though ATI revived to higher gross sales again, it also greatly increased in debt and debt service burden. That became clear when  Roberts returned to ATI in 2004 as the Territory Sales Manager for the Northeast U.S. Sales Territory.

Roberts produced two multi-million dollar sales at two different departments in 2006. However, the sale to Montgomery County in Pennsylvania for about $3.6 million dollars pulled the blinds open as to the real financial health of ATI. The Montgomery County sale was the largest single sale in ATI history to a city or county anywhere in the country. Curtis told Roberts that they could handle it and would provide the performance and payment bonds necessary for this project to close, which was all ready to go. Roberts had worked it out with the county commissioners for this project to be processed almost sole source with ATI and sold the job at a 63% margin.

However, when the final signed contracts and paperwork were due, ATI could not produce the promised payment and performance bonds that they had assured would be ready for the job.  That failure to perform as promised went on for some time until Montgomery County sent anotice to sue letter to ATI.  With that pressure, ATI finally finished the paperwork at their end and applied for a very expensive remedial substandard bonding situation that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to administer. Under that arrangement, each ATI major executive and stockholder had to sign, along with their wives, and they all had to put up their houses and assets for that bond to go through so they would not end up in a legal battle with their customer, Montgomery County.

ATI was not paid as the work was completed, but the bonding company was paid directly and then when the bonding company’s on-site foreman inspected and cleared the work, which added an expensive layer of on-site management, they then paid ATI 30 to 60 days or so later. That arrangement cost ATI a deposit of $104,654.13 for bonds for this project just to get started – quite a lot more than ATI had quoted Roberts ($25k to $29k total). This turned out to be a financial catastrophe for ATI who passed the costs onto Roberts commissions and reduced them significantly. Hundreds of thousands were also paid out to administer this very undesirable situation. Roberts commissions were wrongfully used by ATI as a way to fund ATI’s financial shortfalls on a job that should have made ATI well over a million in profits.

According to Roberts, in May of 2011, without discussion, ATI fired Roberts, locked his office, and sent him on his way. When Roberts was terminated, he was owed approximately $300,000 in unpaid federal sales commissions. ATI offered to pay Roberts $15,000 for his troubles if he would sign a confidential settlement agreement. Roberts refused. Instead, he found an attorney who took his case on contingency. In 2015, after a four-year battle with ATI, and when ATI’s attempt at summary judgment failed and was denied by the federal judge, ATI  settled out of court to Roberts’ satisfaction.

Much of what happened at ATI is not available to the public, but Roberts’ lawsuit included the testimony of  Kyrsten Oler, Director of Human Resources at ATI from 2009 to 2014. Her deposition taken on April 16, 2014, is particularly revealing as to how Curtis and Bateman treated people, especially women, within the management workings of ATI. That sworn testimony by Oler cited 18-19 individuals who had relevant claims of Sexual Discrimination, Retaliation, Harassment, and Religious Discrimination, Racial Discrimination, Gender or Sexual Discrimination, Age Discrimination, and unlawful and discriminatory employment practices, that were filed with NLRB, UALD and/or EEOC. Most of these former ATI employees settled out of court and entered into confidential settlement agreements with ATI. (NOTE: This is covered in “A Factual Review of JOHN CURTIS: EXPOSED, Part 1”, published 10/16/2017, along with other inappropriate and illegal activity.)

“I’m surprised that there was no criminal investigation …. Based on the plethora, on that large volume of  rancid fish in the company [Action Target Inc.].” – Utah District Court Judge Samuel D. McVey – Case #140400301, APPELLATE NO. 20150855, 4th District Court, Provo – page 205-206

The incompetence over the next few years became so extreme that DaNell D. Jukule, the Contracting Officer for the U.S. Army’s TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (“TACOM”), sent a rejection letter on Aug 3, 2010 to ATI that listed 39 deficiencies that warranted a ‘No Go’ rating for ATI. In the letter, Jukule openly mocked ATI’s performance and history with the following statement: “The above listed deficiencies, in and of themselves warrant your proposal’s exclusion from the competition. In addition, an initial evaluation of other factors indicates that your past performance information and your proposed sustainment strategy would be rated unfavorably as well, making it unlikely that your company would be awarded a contract as a result of this solicitation even if the technical deficiencies are not present.”

That letter showed that ATI failed in their bid attempt and the government pointed out how out of line and out of touch ATI was to even think that they could do business with TACOM. As that unfolded, several ATI sources stated that ATI dropped doing, or attempting to do business with the military and the U.S. Government. That was a huge blow to ATI who had hired more engineers and designers in 2009 for the Military Department and were working on plans to bid on other contracts a year or two before TACOM dropped them. At that time ATI “Blew Up” the Military and International departments for problems and lack of performance.

John Curtis was COO when this was all taking place. In 2009, Curtis started listing and selling real estate with a broker on the side. That seemed strange to high level employees at ATI. In retrospect, they thought maybe Curtis could see the writing on the wall about ATI’s future and the deep problems coming with the U.S. Government.

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In 1994, Roberts obtained a GSA contract and GSA number so ATI products could be sold directly to government groups without having to compete with ATI’s competitors. That allowed the federal government (and in some cases, state and local departments) to purchase right off of the ATI Product List. That greatly increased sales from that point on until about 2009 when ATI was put on probation and almost lost their GSA contract a number of times for not complying with required GSA rules and by simply not doing their required paperwork to properly renew ATI’s application to continue with a GSA contract. That simple procedural neglect affected ATI sales in a very negative manner and showed how incompetent Curtis really was in the industry and in interfacing with a U.S. Government agency as important as GSA. Curtis openly admitted dropping the ball and apologized to the ATI sales department for that blunder that went on for years regarding GSA contract sales and business. Instead of fixing this problem with GSA himself, John passed the problem off to one of his ‘friend managers’ to handle. That was one of the reasons it was never addressed properly in the first place.

That was around the same time that Curtis decided to run for Mayor of Provo in 2009, and won. A source close to ATI and Curtis stated that, “Maybe John felt that his qualification and talents for destroying a large and very successful company would fit in well, and perhaps be better suited for being in government instead of trying to work with it, or around it.”

Curtis became Mayor of Provo in early 2010 and gradually began winding down at ATI in spring of 2009 (according to Curtis) but still took an important role during that transition. He was still seen a lot during 2010 and less by 2011 coming to high level meetings as he kept phasing out of his active role. He is believed to still have retained his part ownership in the company.

However, all of the problems that would plague ATI for years, the legal actions taken against Curtis and ATI that included claims of sexual harassment, discrimination, fraud, wage claims and breach of contracts, mostly took place and had their origins while Curtis was fully involved as COO at ATI. There is also evidence and sworn testimony that he took a very active role and remained involved at ATI for years after he became Mayor and participated in Board meetings, the sexual harassment and discrimination legal proceedings and other activities and was still acting in a management role to some degree.

“How could John Curtis, in his wildest dreams, claim to be the one who, “Built a multi-million dollar company that employed hundreds right here in Utah.” Now he is Mayor of Provo and the Republican candidate for US Congress.” – Former ATI Executive

“Years of experience conducting firearms and shooting range training.”

John Curtis stated in his primary promotional flyer that he has “Years of experience conducting firearms and shooting range training for the U.S. Military, police departments and the NRA.” Once again, “experience conducting” has every appearance to be a deceptive and total overreaching lie by Curtis to perhaps obtain votes from the military and 2nd amendment defenders, both of which are a major demographic in Utah.

That claim by Curtis is unfounded and at best, a blatant misrepresentation and misleading statement. There is no evidence that he has, or had, any certification to provide any form of firearms training to anyone, and he has never been observed providing training by anyone questioned in this investigation. No one even remembers Curtis doing any shooting on a firing range, let alone doing any training. He has, however, been observed at training events answering questions about ATI products.

Curtis was known to employees at ATI and in the industry as mostly a “pretty boy” and nice dresser who did not like to be on firing ranges. In reality, Curtis turned to a close friend for pointers who then helped Curtis be more competent at shooting prior to obtaining his concealed firearms permit. [Editor’s Note: A reader pointed out that there is no proficiency requirement to get a concealed weapons permit in Utah. It is not know if Curtis knew that or not. To his credit, it’s a good thing that he received training and learned how to shoot.]

Before Curtis arrived at ATI, Addison Sovine and Scott Roberts had already developed relations with the U.S. Military and many other local and federal law enforcement departments across the country where Roberts did actual firearms training (mostly reactive combat shooting) at a number of indoor and outdoor ranges at military and law enforcement departments. Roberts was one of just a handful of experts in the industry who the NRA called upon for input and as a teacher at their Range Development and Design seminars and classes.

It has been noted that perhaps when Curtis bought his executive position from Roberts, Curtis might have felt that he also bought Roberts’ reputation with firearms training and experience in the industry and could make claims as such.  

In a recent statement on his website on Oct 06, 2017, Curtis stated: “I have spent much of my adult life instructing people how to safely carry and use guns.”

In relation to this subject, the following is a transcription of a recorded interview with Curtis by USN publisher Ed Wallace:

Q. OK. Firearms instructions… what do you have to do to be a firearms instructor? A. Well, it depends on who you’re teaching. Much of our work was centered on law enforcement and military, and of course, there are some very high standards for that. If you want to teach a concealed carry permit class, then you’d qualify with the state. It just depends on who you want to teach and what level you want to teach at.

Q. What level where you teaching at? A. I was not a teacher. I built shooting ranges.

Q. Oh, I thought you were an instructor. A. I lectured for the NRA on how to build shooting ranges. So, our specialty was in building the ranges.

Q. I think, in terms of the firearms instruction, nobody had ever seen you actually instructing. I think the issue is that you had claimed something like that on your campaign flier… A. Yeah, I had lectured for the NRA. That was the claim on the fliers…. Because I had lectured for the NRA on how to build shooting ranges. I had done that for a number of years

There – Mystery solved. (this reminds the writer of Bill Clinton’s statement: ““It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.“)

“John is ‘slippier than a wet fish’ and always thinking that he did it all on his own and takes credit for things that he really never did.”  – former ATI executive

References

Curtis sent his primary promotional flyer to most….

“Most courts take the view…” – Saper Law

A special report from FactCheck.org states:

As Chief Operating Officer (COO) and VP over Sales and Marketing at Action Target Inc. (ATI), and a stockholder

Curtis’ recent video ad shows him standing outside…

The CFO for ATI at the time, Teague Hansen…

Curtis ran as a Democrat… and got trounced

According to the Deseret News

But declined in a letter to Curtis.

Montgomery County sent anotice to sue letter to ATI

Under that arrangement, each ATI major executive…

When Roberts was terminated

An attorney who took his case on contingency

When ATI’s attempt at summary judgment failed

Her deposition taken on April 16, 2014…

Oler cited 18-19 individuals who had relevant claims

Judge Samuel D. McVey – Case #140400301

TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (“TACOM”) sent a rejection letter on Aug 3, 2010

ATI Product List

The following is a transcription of a recorded interview with Curtis

Definitions

Sexual Discrimination, Retaliation, Harassment, and Religious Discrimination,

Racial Discrimination,

Gender or Sexual Discrimination,

Age Discrimination, and

unlawful and discriminatory employment practices, that were filed with NLRB, UALD and/or EEOC.

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